Bob Sethi, B.Comm | 604.273.2828

 

Bubble? What Bubble?

Alberta homebuyers eyeing B.C. again

British Columbians love talking about their real estate.
 
And nowhere is that topic hotter than in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver, where average housing prices upward of $700,000 are not uncommon.

Yet in the wake of recent news reports about a housing market swoon on the West Coast due to price plunge headlines, the talk of a housing bubble has popped up yet again.
 
The average residential price in B.C. dropped 10.9 per cent in April compared to a year ago to $532,855, but B.C. Real Estate Association Cameron Muir says that decline was offset by a 14 per cent increase in the rest of the province.

He says Kamloops, the Okanagan and the North all posted double-digit increases in home sales compared to levels one year ago.
 
In Kamloops, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of the Central Interior executive officer Patsy Bourassa says she has noticed a definite pick-up in the market compared to the same time a year ago.
“With this spring, things have started moving again,” she says.
 
Bourassa credits a few things for spurring the current increase, which she describes as slow but steady, such as the First Time Homebuyers’ tax credit and HST transition measures announced by the provincial government earlier this year, as well as a generally robust resource economy – she notes there are five mines in the Central Interior – and homebuyers from Alberta.

UBC Sauder School of Business real estate economist Tsur Somerville also notes the Interior and the North are doing better than the Lower Mainland lately.
 
“A lot of that is being driven by the second home purchase market in Alberta,” he says.
 
Those areas are popular for Albertans who purchase vacation properties and with that province’s economy recovering, more consumers are thinking about buying in B.C., Somerville said.
 
He points out the B.C. market now is very different form one or two years ago, as high-end market sales and the foreign source of wealth market have both slowed down.
 

Somerville doesn’t think British Columbians needs to worry about a housing market bubble.

“I never thought there was a bubble to begin with,” he says.
 
While there’s a lot of inventory in the new-home market, there are locations with a lot of starts happening, he notes.
 
Despite a lot of inventory – depending on where you live in the province – Somerville doesn’t go so far as to say B.C. is experiencing a buyer’s market.
 
“When average prices are in excess of $700,000, I don’t think you can really say it’s a buyer’s market,” he says.
 
He advises potential homebuyers not to base big decisions on what the market may or may not be doing.
 
“If you’re buying real estate for yourself to live in, I think you need to do that based on your life cycle and not try to time it with the market.”
 
When you get listings to sales ratios rising, consumers don’t have to approach the market with as much anxiety and can take their time to choose a product they really love, he says.

In the Central Interior, “Everybody’s cautiously optimistic” the housing market will continue to move, Bourassa said.
 
 
Excerpted from BCHomesmag.com.  Article written by Tricia Leslie. 
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Threshold being raised to $850,000 effective April 1, 2012

 

Government announces the transition rules for the HST early

 

BURNABY, BC (February 17, 2012) - The Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance held a press conference today in Victoria to announce transition rules for the harmonized sales tax and the affect it will have on the home building industry. Effective April 1, 2012 the threshold for new housing rebates will be increased from $525,000 to $850,000, including secondary homes.

 

"We are elated the Provincial Ministry of Finance and the Federal Finance Department asked for our input and that our provincial government listened to the lobbying efforts of CHBA BC," said CEO, M.J. Whitemarsh. "We had the confidence the Government would take our concerns to heart and implement the best solution for our industry, the news today was worth the wait and is even better than we could have anticipated."  

 

Since the referendum results to rescind the tax, the Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC (CHBA BC) has worked diligently providing information from members to the government requesting the implementation of the transition rules be done as simply and quickly as possible to prevent any further stalling of the residential housing industry.  

 

"The out-of-box forward thinking from the Government has created a stable situation for all CHBA BC members who build secondary homes," Whitemarsh said. "Houses purchased as of April 1st will ultimately be receiving a $42,500 discount, now that the threshold has been raised."

 

Releasing the transition rules on housing early was a wise and bold move on government's part, one that is mutually beneficial. CHBA BC lobbied for a tax rebate to be created for consumers on new home purchases and renovations, so the industry could move forward and gain momentum once again.

 

"Raising the threshold is a brilliant decision that is fair and equitable, a huge benefit to all consumers that will spur the market," said Doug Wittal, President of CHBA BC. "Including the second home market outside the GVRD and CRD will create a huge boom, creating jobs and pushing the industry forward in very innovative ways."  

 

The 2012 budget will be announced Tuesday, February 21, 2012.
 
 
For more on how the transition rules affect your new home purchase contact me at bob@bobsethi.com.

 

 

Taken from CHBA BC.  The Canadian Home Builders' Association of British Columbia is the voice of the residential construction industry in BC fostering a housing environment in which the industry operates effectively and professionally.

 

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Important information on the HST referendum

The Provincial Government has received the results of the HST referendum. The outcome was decisive, with just under 55% of voters choosing to extinguish the HST and return the province to a system of taxation using both the PST and GST.
 
The government says no changes will occur until at least May 2013. There is no information yet on what the details of the tax system will look like at that time.
 
In terms of what this means to you, the HST is still in place and will be until at least May 2013. I will be updated this blog as we learn more. If you're interested in learning how this affects your plans to buy or sell real estate please contact me at:
 
Bob Sethi, RE/MAX Westcoast 
604-273-2828
 
 
With information provided by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
 
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Richmond

January 1st to June 30th, 2011 (Cumulative)
 

Company

No. of
Sales

Volume per
Associate

Sales per
Associate

No. of
Associates

RE/MAX
- Westcoast Realty

1022

$3,264,688

8.9

115

MacDONALD REALTORS
- Westmar & Willie S. Chan

1151

$2,005,084

4.8

242

SUTTON GROUP
- Seafair -on Blundell

801

$1,791,398

4.3

186

ROYAL PACIFIC REALTY
- Riverside Realty

390

$1,668,940

3.6

109

AMEX
- Sunrich Realty

325

$1,513,444

3.2

101

MULTIPLE GROUP
- 3 Richmond Offices

276

$1,191,818

2.5

110

REGENT PARK REALTY
- Fairchild - on #3 Rd

252

$1,044,106

2.4

107

TEAM REALTY
- TEAM Realty Ltd.

63

$720,408

2.2

29

MAGSEN
- Magsen Realty Inc

121

$636,239

1.6

77

All Others
( 13 Offices )

227

$406,837

1.5

150

INTERLINK REALTY
- Interlink Realty

49

$480,764

1.0

47

Total

4,614

 

 

1,244

 
 
NOTE: This representation is based in whole or in part on data generated by the Real Estate Boards of Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Okanagan Mainline, South Okanagan, and BC Northern, which assume no responsibility for its accuracy.
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Changes to Canadian Immigration Rules

On June 24, the federal government instituted rule changes related to new applications under the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and the Federal Entrepreneur Program. The changes are as follows:
  • Federal Entrepreneur Program: A temporary moratorium on new applications.
  • Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP): A cap of 700 new IIP applications will be considered for processing each year.
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW): A cap of 10,000 new FSW applications, without an offer of arranged employment, will be considered for processing each year. Within the 10,000 cap, a maximum of 500 new applications per occupation will be considered each year.

BC, and Vancouver in particular, has been one of the primary recipients of immigrants under the IIP, accounting for half of total Canadian investor class immigration. From 2005 to 2010, over 30,000 investor class immigrants have located in BC, an average of about 5,000 per year. This number relates to roughly 2,000 households per year.

Implications

The Government's stated reason for instituting the application cap is to reduce a backlog in applications and to shorten wait times. In 2010 there were 3,223 applications approved under the IIP and the government has indicated that it has received applications well in excess of that number in recent years, creating a large backlog of applications. It has not indicated that it wishes to lower the number of immigrants processed under the IIP, but simply to reduce the current backlog.
 
Therefore, as old applications are still being processed, the implementation of the new rules may not have an impact on the number of immigrants entering under the IIP and therefore may not have a material impact on BC housing markets.
 
To view Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) press release, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2011/2011-06-24a.asp.
 
For more information about the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/investors/index.asp.
 
For more information about the Federal Entrepreneur Program, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/entrepreneurs/index.asp.
 
For more information about the Skilled Worker Program, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/index.asp.
 
To view CIC's Frequently Asked Questions, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/faq/immigrate/business/index.asp.
 
 
All information subject to verification by independent legal advice.
 
 
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Active home sellers bring greater selection to the Greater Vancouver housing market

While the balance between home buyer and seller activity remains in an equilibrium range in the Greater Vancouver housing market, last month’s home sale total was below the 10-year average for July.
 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) reached 2,571 in July, a 14 per cent increase compared to the 2,255 sales in July 2010 and a 21.2 per cent decline compared to the 3,262 sales in June 2011.

“We’re seeing less multiple offer situations in the market today compared to the last few months, but our members tell us that homes priced competitively continue to sell at a relatively swift pace,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “It’s taking, on average, 41 days to sell a property in the region, which is unchanged from June of this year.”
 
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,097 in July. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to July 2010 when 4,138 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 12 per cent decline compared to the 5,793 new listings reported in June 2011.
 

Last month’s new listing total was 8.6 per cent higher than the 10-year average for July, while residential sales were 17.3 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in July.

At 15,226, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 0.8 per cent in July compared to last month and declined 7.3 per cent from this time last year.

“The number of homes listed for sale in the region has increased each month since the start of the year, which is giving buyers more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said.
 
The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 9.2 per cent to $630,251 in July 2011 from $577,074 in July 2010.
 
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in July 2011 reached 1,099, an increase of 21 per cent from the 908 detached sales recorded in July 2010, and an 31.9 per cent decrease from the 1,614 units sold in July 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.3 per cent from July 2010 to $898,886.
 
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,040 in July 2011, a 6.2 per cent increase compared to the 979 sales in July 2010, and a decrease of 39.1 per cent compared to the 1,708 sales in July 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.5 per cent from July 2010 to $405,306.
 
Attached property sales in July 2011 totalled 432, a 17.4 per cent increase compared to the 368 sales in July 2010, and a 45.5 per cent decrease from the 792 attached properties sold in July 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6.9 per cent between July 2010 and 2011 to $524,909.

Courtesy Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
 
 
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May 2011 Stats
 
Greater Vancouver housing market holds steady and favours sellers in May
 
Home sales remained at typical springtime levels on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver in May.
 
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver reached 3,377 in May 2011, a 7 per cent increase compared to the 3,156 sales in May 2010 and a 4.7 per cent increase compared to the 3,225 sales in April 2011.
 
Looking back further, last month’s residential sales are 8.1 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in May. The three highest selling Mays ever recorded occurred in 2005, 2006 and 2007 when sales exceeded the 4,000 mark each year.
 
“With a sales to active listings ratio of 23 per cent, conditions continue to favour sellers in the Greater Vancouver housing market, but activity has eased away from the near record-setting pace we saw in March,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said.
 
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,931 in May 2011. This represents a 15.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2010 when 7,014 properties were listed for sale on the MLS®, which was the second highest total for May on record. Last month’s new listings increased 1.4 per cent compared to April 2011.
 

At 14,656, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 2 per cent in May compared to last month and declined 16 per cent from this time last year.

The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months increased 6.2 per cent to $627,568 in May 2011 from $590,662 in May 2010.
 
 “We’re seeing more activity at the high end of our market this year than we did one year ago. This is causing today’s average prices in the region to be less reflective of the total activity occurring in the marketplace,” Setticasi said. “The Housing Price Index benchmark prices are more accurate, reliable indicators of housing prices compared to averages.”
 
Of all residential properties sold on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver in 2011 to date 21 per cent sold for $1-million or higher and 20 per cent sold for $350,000 or lower. While 77 per cent of the properties that sold for over $1-million were located in West Vancouver, the Westside of Vancouver or Richmond, the properties that sold for $350,000 or lower were located throughout the entire Board area.
 
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in May 2011 reached 1,570, an increase of 25 per cent from the 1,256 detached sales recorded in May 2010, and a 12 per cent increase from the 1,402 units sold in May 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 10 per cent from May 2010 to $890,833.
 
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,228 in May 2011, a 9.3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,354 sales in May 2010, and a decrease of 15.8 per cent compared to the 1,458 sales in May 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 2.2 per cent from May 2010 to $407,419.
 
Attached property sales in May 2011 totalled 579, a 6 per cent increase compared to the 546 sales in May 2010, and a 12.8 per cent decrease from the 664 attached properties sold in May 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 3.5 per cent between May 2010 and 2011 to $517,787.

 

Stats taken from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, all rights reserved.
 
 
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Summer housing market trends toward balance after an active spring season

Home sellers outpaced buyers on Greater Vancouver’s Multiple Listings Service® (MLS®) in June, drawing the market back toward balance this summer.
 
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 3,262 in June, a 9.8 per cent increase compared to the 2,972 sales in June 2010 and a 3.4 per cent decline compared to the 3,377 sales in May 2011.
 
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,793 in June. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase compared to June 2010 when 5,544 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 2.3 per cent decline compared to the 5,931 new listings reported in May 2011.
 
Last month’s new listing total was 9.8 per cent higher than the 10-year average for June, while residential sales were 7.3 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in June.
 

“With sales below the 10-year average and home listings above what’s typical for the month, activity in June brought closer alignment between supply and demand in our marketplace,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of nearly 22 per cent, it looks like we’re in the upper end of a balanced market.”

At 15,106, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 3.1 per cent in June compared to last month and declined 14 per cent from this time last year.

The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 8.7 per cent to $630,921 in June 2011 from $580,237 in June 2010.
 
“The largest price increases continue to be in the detached home market on the westside of Vancouver and in West Vancouver,” Setticasi said. “Since the end of May, the benchmark price of a detached home rose more than $147,000 on the westside of Vancouver and over $80,000 in West Vancouver. Detached home prices in Richmond, however, levelled off slightly, declining $25,000 in June.”
 
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in June 2011 reached 1,471, an increase of 29.1 per cent from the 1,139 detached sales recorded in June 2010, and an 11.8 per cent decrease from the 1,667 units sold in June 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.4 per cent from June 2010 to $901,680.
 
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,266 in June 2011, a 0.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,258 sales in June 2010, and a decrease of 29.3 per cent compared to the 1,790 sales in June 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.5 per cent from June 2010 to $405,200.
 
Attached property sales in June 2011 totalled 525, an 8.7 per cent decrease compared to the 575 sales in June 2010, and a 34.5 per cent decrease from the 802 attached properties sold in June 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6 per cent between June 2010 and 2011 to $522,424.

 
Courtesy of Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
 
 
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The Best Place on Earth

INFORMATION BULLETIN

2011FIN0051-000598
May 25, 2011

Ministry of Finance

 

 

Government commits to 10 per cent HST

 

VICTORIA –The Province is committing to bold, responsive, and balanced changes to the Harmonized Sales Tax to make British Columbia families better off while ensuring government can meet its commitment to balanced budgets, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced today.

 

The plan, which is to be confirmed by legislative motion, is to reduce the total HST rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent in two stages. The provincial portion would be cut by one percentage point to six per cent from seven per cent on July 1, 2012. A further one percentage point reduction would take effect on July 1, 2014.

 

All British Columbia families will benefit from these changes and, on average, pay less on their routine expenditures under the 10 per cent HST than going back to the PST and GST. To help offset the costs of the HST before the rate reduction in 2012, one-time transition cheques of $175 per child would be issued to families with children under 18 years old. In addition, low- and modest-income seniors will receive a one-time transition cheque of $175. The cost of the transition cheques is expected to be $200 million, and they will be issued by the end of the year.

 

The independent panel that reviewed the HST and the PST plus GST tax systems recently estimated that families now pay an average of $350 more in sales tax under the HST than they paid with the PST plus GST system. With a 10 per cent HST rate, instead of paying $350 more tax, B.C. families will on average pay $120 less tax than under the PST.

 

The independent panel also noted that while consumers are paying more, businesses are saving money. Furthermore, the Province remains committed to balancing the budget in 2013/14 while reducing the HST burden on families and modest income seniors. To help meet this commitment, government will increase the general corporate income tax rate to 12 per cent from the current 10 per cent on Jan. 1, 2012, and postpone the reduction in the small business tax rate planned for April 1, 2012. The measures would be temporary until the fiscal situation allows for further reductions.

 

Proposed changes to the HST will only take effect should British Columbians vote to keep the HST.

 

For more information about the HST, visit: www.HSTinBC.ca

 

Contact:

David Currie

Ministry of Finance

250 387-6591


 

BACKGROUNDER

HST policy change details

 

The Province plans to reduce the total HST rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent in two stages should British Columbians vote to keep the HST in this summer’s referendum. The provincial portion of the HST would be cut by one percentage point to six per cent from seven per cent on July 1, 2012, and cut one more percentage point to 5 per cent on July 1, 2014. The rate reduction will benefit all B.C. families. The Independent Panel estimated that, on average, harmonization costs B.C. families $350 more per year on their typical expenditures. By reducing the HST rate to 10 per cent, the $350 average cost now becomes a $120 average benefit for B.C. families.

 

10 per cent HST

 

Family Income                        Net increase (Decrease)                    Net increase (Decrease)

                                                Per Independent Panel                     With 10% HST rate (07/14)

 

$10,000 or less                        ($73)                                                    ($170)

$10,001-20,000                       $32                                                      ($159)

$20,001-40,000                       $129                                                    ($155)                         

$40,001-60,000                       $366                                                    ($81)

$60,001-80,000                       $527                                                    ($53)

$80,001-100,000                     $657                                                    ($61)

Over $100,000                                    $1,029                                                 ($45)

Average                                  $350                                                    ($120)

 

2011 Transition Payments

 

All B.C. families will receive $175 for each and every child under 18, and low and modest income seniors will also receive a cheque for $175.

 

HST Referendum Details

 

British Columbians will be voting in a mail-in referendum on the HST. Ballots will be mailed in June and must be returned to Elections B.C. or a Service B.C. office by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011.

 

For more information about the HST, visit: www.HSTinBC.ca

You can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/hstinbc

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect

 

Contact:

David Currie

Ministry of Finance

250 387-6591

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Top 25 grants and rebates for property buyers and owners

1. Home Buyers’ Plan

Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca. Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box | 1.800.959.8287

2. GST Rebate on New Homes

New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca. Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box | 1.800.959.8287

3. BC New Housing Rebate (HST)

Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $26,250. Homes priced at $525,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250. www.hstinbc.ca/making_your_choice/faqs/new_housing_rebate | 1.800.959.8287

4. BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)

Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST, up to $26,250 per unit. http://www.hstinbc.ca/making_your_choice/faqs/new_housing_rebate | 1.800.959.8287

5. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First Time Home Buyers’ Program

Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue www.rev.gov.bc.ca/rpt | 250.387.0604

6. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2010) x $5,000. For the 2010 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca/hbtc | 1.800.959.8281

7. BC Home Owner Grant

Reduces school property taxes by up to $570 on properties with an assessed value up to $1,150,000. For 2011, the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of value over $1,150,000, and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,264,000. An additional grant reduces property tax by a further $275 for a total of $845 for seniors, veterans and the disabled. This is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,150,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,319,000+. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue www.rev.gov.bc.ca/hog or contact your municipal tax office.

8. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs

Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying low income home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenuewww.sbr.gov.bc.ca and enter ‘Property tax deferment’ in the search box or contact your municipal tax office.

9. Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants

This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites. www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/prfinas/prfinas_001.cfm | 1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408

10. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund

Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient mortgage or make energy saving renovations. www.cmhc.ca/en/co/moloin/moloin_008.cfm#reno | 604.731.5733

11. Energy Saving Mortgages

Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/mortgages/energy-saver-mortgage.html | 1.800.769.2511

12. Low Interest Renovation Loans

Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 renovation on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. www.vancity.com/Loans/BrightIdeas and www.rbcroyalbank.com and in the search box enter ‘energy saver loan’.

13. LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program

Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with Terasen Gas, BC Hydro, and FortisBC. Rebates are for energy efficient products which replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy assessment, directly to the service provider.www.livesmartbc.ca/rebates | 1.866.430.8765

14. BC Residential Energy Credit

Home owners and residential landlords buying heating fuel receive a BC government point-of-sale rebate on utility bills equal to the provincial component of the HST. www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/documents_library/notices/HST_Notice_010.pdf or go to Google and in the search box type in ‘Residential Energy Credit rebate program.’ It is the first item. | 1.877.388.4440

15. BC Hydro Appliance Rebates

Mail-in rebates of $25 - $50 for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers until March 31, 2011, or when funding for the program is exhausted. www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/appliance_rebates.html | 1.800.224.9376

16. BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program

This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition. www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/fridge_buy_back.html | 604.881.4357

17. BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program

Pay no HST when you buy ENERGY STAR high-performance windows and doors. This offer is available until March 31, 2011. www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/windows_offers/current_offers.html | 604.759.2759 for a free in-home estimate.

18. BC Hydro Mail-in Rebates/Savings Coupons

To save energy, BC Hydro offers rebates including 10 % off an ENERGY STAR cordless phone. Check for new offers and for deadlines.www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/coupons.html | 1.800.224.9376

19. Fortis BC (formerly Terasen Gas) Rebate Program

A range of rebates for home owners include a $50 rebate for upgrading a water heater, $150 rebate on an Ener-Choice fireplace (both good until March 31, 2011) and a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system (good until February 29, 2012). http://www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Homes/Offers/Pages/Residential-Water-Heater-Program.aspx | 1.888.224.2710

20. Fortis BC (formerly Terasen Gas) Efficient Boiler Program

For commercial buildings, provides a cash rebate of up to 75% of the purchase price of an energy efficient boiler, for new construction or retrofits. http://www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Business/Offers/Pages/default.aspx | 1.888.477.0777

21. City of Vancouver Solar Homes Pilot

This rebate of $3,000 (about 50% of the cost) is for a Vancouver home owner upgrading to a solar hot water system from a gas system. Offered by the City of Vancouver, SolarBC, Terasen Gas and Offsetters on a first come, first served basis until March 2011 or until the City reaches its target of 30 solar homes. www.vancouver.ca/sustainability/SolarHomes.htm | 604.873.7748

22. City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program

The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50% of the cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the subsidy, the rain barrel costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave., Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency. www.vancouver.ca and in the search box enter ‘rain barrel program.’ 604.736.2250. Other municipalities have similar offers.

23. Vancity Green Building Grant

In partnership with the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Vancity provides grants up to $50,000 each to qualifying charities, not-for-profit organizations and co-operatives for projects which focus on building renovations/retrofits, regulatory changes that advance green building development, and education to increase the use of practical green building strategies.

www.vancity.com/MyCommunity/NotForProfit/Grants/ActingOnClimateChange GreenBuildingGrant | 604.877.7000

24. Local Government Water Conservation Incentives

Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.

25. Local Government Water Meter Programs

Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.

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